Generally, toys are considered as things that keep children entertained. There are many kinds of toys, some that parents do not approve of and some that parents encourage their babies and toddlers to play with. Educational toys have been a popular option for parents who want to encourage early brain development as their babies are growing up. In fact, they are so popular that nurseries are filled to the brim with educational toys long before a baby can even grasp and grab objects.
What makes a toy educational and entertaining?
What makes a toy educational and why are they any different from regular toys? Expecting parents often ask those questions to know if it is worth it to buy expensive educational toys for babies and toddlers. Here are ways to identify whether a toy is educational or are classified as your average plaything.
Challenges and stimulates the brain
The first qualification of a toy to be considered as educational is the way it affects a child’s brain development. Toys that require a baby or a toddler to think to fully enjoy playtime are those that are best for educational purposes. Puzzles and shape sorting are the most common examples of a challenging and mentally stimulating toy because they encourage the development of a child’s problem-solving skills.
When a toy is not challenging, toddlers tend to quickly lose interest. On the other hand, if a toy is too complicated for their age and mental capacity, they end up frustrated and it can even lead to a tantrum. The key of a challenging and mentally stimulating toy is for it to cater to the right age of the child. If not, the toy will simply be a toy and nothing more.
Addresses different development stages
As babies and toddlers age they go through different developmental stages. An educational toy must be able to address these stages and allow for continuous growth. When a toy does not help a baby or toddler to develop further, it is not a very useful or educational tool for a child to play with. Most educational tools in the market target at least 5 different development stages so that they can be used longer as the baby grows older.
Helps develop new skills
Another factor of a toy to be classified as educational is when they encourage the development of a new skill, whether they it is a mental or a motor skill, a baby can still benefit from these toys. There are some toy mats and play sets that help toddlers learn how to stand and walk independently.
Although this can be done on a couch, a play set has many attractive attachments that encourage a toddler to reach for them sooner. Other skills like repetitive tasks can also be addressed by educational toys as it instills discipline and concentration from an early age.
Introduces basic knowledge
Educational toys are often used by babies and toddlers before they enter daycare or some kind of formal education. They often have basic information like the alphabet, numbers, shapes, and colors which stimulate learning in a fun way.
Toys that have these make it easier for toddlers to absorb information as they play with the toys every day. Once they enter school they can easily identify basic shapes, colors, numbers, and letters because they have been exposed to the information from an early age.
Encourages creativity and use of imagination
Another factor of what makes a toy educational is the way it affects a child’s creativity. Toddlers are naturally curious and like to explore just about everything. While they explore their environment, they get to use their imaginations and develop their creativity.
Toys that not only challenge them to solve problems, but also allow them to get creative with how they solve these problems are amazing tools for early development.
The bottom line
Educational toys come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The main thing is that they help a baby or toddler to develop necessary life skills. These kinds of toys also help instill learning from a young age and toddlers who associate education with fun are more likely to learn new things.
If a toy can teach a child basic knowledge while keeping them entertained for long hours it is a good score for parents. Give your child a fun but educational play time by investing in the right kind of toys.